Hamilton real estate agency fined $1 million for price fixing

 

A Hamilton real estate agency has been fined $1.05 million for price fixing and anti-competitive agreements.

Online Realty, which operated under the Ray White banner, was one of 13 national and regional real estate agencies prosecuted by the Commerce Commission for in a case it launched in late 2015.

This related to price fixing and anti-competitive agreements made in response to Trade Me changing its fees for listing properties on its website.

Justice Patricia Courtney said while Online Realty was not a ringleader in the case, the conduct has brought a significant and lasting change to the market, with the majority of Hamilton real estate agents continuing to pass on the cost.

Hamilton real estate agency fined $1 million for price fixing

Online Realty, operated under the Ray White banner, and was one of 13 national and regional real estate agencies involved in price fixing.

To date nearly $19m in court-imposed penalties have been imposed on the various real estate firms involved.

In December, four of the country’s big real estate agencies – Barfoot and Thompson, Harcourts, LJ Hooker and Ray White – were ordered to pay a total of $9.8m in penalties.

Last July the fifth agency, nationwide chain Bayleys, was ordered to pay $2.2m after it reached a settlement with the commission.

Online Realty is the third Hamilton real estate agency to appear in court, after Success Realty, operating under the Bayleys brand, was ordered to pay a penalty of $900,000 last year and Lugton’s was fined $1m last year.

A four week trial for the two remaining Hamilton real estate agencies in the case, Monarch Real Estate and Lodge Real Estate, is scheduled to begin at the Auckland High Court next month.

This article originally appeared on Stuff.co.nz on August 9, 2017 and was written by Anuja Nadkani

 

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